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  • Writer's pictureMy Family Podiatry

Corns and Callus

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

At My Family Podiatry, we regularly see patients suffering with a sensation of walking on a stone or splinter. On closer examination, the cause is commonly a corn.

What is a corn?

Corns are small pieces of hard skin which develop in response to pressure. The body recognises an increased area of stress and initially responds by laying down a layer of callus to protect the skin. If this pressure continues, the body continues producing callus and a corn can develop. Corns can be exceptionally painful to stand and walk on, especially when barefoot.

There are three main types of corns: hard corns, soft corns and seed corns.

Hard Corns: This type of corn will often develop on areas of high pressure. These can be extremely painful with direct pressure and many patients even change their gait to avoid placing pressure on corns.

Soft Corns: Soft corns develop between digits and typically have a white, rubbery appearance. Most commonly these are found between the fourth and fifth digit and can result from the pressure of tight footwear or toes that press together.

Seed Corns: Seed corns are much smaller and are typically found in small clusters on the ball of the foot. At first these can be completely painless though they can progress to give the sensation of a splinter or even a burning sensation.

Cartoon image of a foot showing a corn on the forefoot and the fourth toe
Callus on high pressure areas before forming a corn

How are corns treated?

At My Family Podiatry, we are skilled in the removal of corns. Typically this will involve physical debridement of the corn, a painless procedure as the corn is made of dead skin. This will have you walking out of our clinic without pain.

One of the main problems with corns in that they tend to reoccur if pressure continues to be applied to the area. For this reason, custom insoles can be used to redistribute pressure throughout the foot in a more appropriate way. Your podiatrist would take a 3D scan of your foot, marking the areas of high pressure and have a custom orthotic manufactured with padding in all the right places to reduce the load in your feet.

What about corn pads?

We don’t recommend using corn pads for two main reasons:

  1. The corn pad is rarely the exact size of the corn. As corn pads use an acid to break down the corn, this will often lead to destruction of the healthy skin surrounding the corn which can create other problems.

  2. Under the feet and between the toes, corn pads will often slip off the corn. This can lead to destruction of other areas of the skin with potentially nasty consequences.

Tips to prevent corns developing

As mentioned earlier, corns are typically caused by pressure. By reducing high pressure areas, you can reduce corn formation. This can be achieved through:

  • Wearing appropriately fitting shoes, ensuring correct width and depth.

  • Replacing footwear as required, not continuing to wear the “comfortable pair” with holes nearly worn through them.

  • Utilising insoles when necessary. This can include custom orthotics or even gel insoles which can reduce the pressure on the surface of the foot.

  • Using toe spacers to keep toes separated: If the toes press tightly together and leaned to development of a corn, small spare can be used to help keep these apart.

Corns will often form secondary to callus so another way of helping to reduce their formation is by using a high quality moisturiser to keep the skin soft. Typically this will have a 25-30% urea concentration to deeply moisturise the skin.

Corns can be very painful but they are not something you need to suffer with. The podiatrists at My Family Podiatry can quickly and painlessly remove your corns and have you walking out of the clinic pain free. To book an appointment, call 07 3088 6116 or use the link above to book an appointment online.

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